Special to the Delta County Independent
The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests announce the Matterhorn Mill restoration project amid its 100-year birthday.
To commemorate the centennial celebration, the Matterhorn Mill is undergoing a restoration project that will stabilize the remaining architecture, improve the structural integrity and cleanup the mining waste and tailings piles.
Following the completion of the mill repairs and cleanup, a historic preservation easement will facilitate the conveyance of the mill from the U.S. Forest Service to San Miguel County to sustain the Matterhorn Mill for public enjoyment and education.
“This project is a good example of how we can work with our county, state and federal partners to preserve these historic resources while mitigating their adverse impacts,” said Curtis Cross, forest engineer.
Designed by Walter Reed, and constructed by Otto Beselack, the mill is located south of Ophir, Colorado, along a tributary of the San Miguel River within the historic townsite of Matterhorn (previously San Bernardo).
Matterhorn Mill has withstood decades of heavy snow and natural erosion. Many changes have occurred to the mill including stabilization procedures in the early 1960s to reinforce the foundation and structure.
Matterhorn Mill represents an archaeological site that is designated a San Miguel County Landmark, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After turning 100 years old it qualifies for protection under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA). Protection under ARPA deems the site an archaeological resource. It will secure the site as an irreplaceable part of Western Slope heritage.
“The Matterhorn Mill is one of the last iconic historic mining structures still standing and we’re thankful to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Preservation and protection of the Matterhorn Mill continues to be a priority for San Miguel County and the county’s historical commission. The county is thankful to work with the USFS in pursuing conveyance of the structure to the county and we look forward to the acquisition,” said Janet Kask, Director of Parks and Open Space and overseeing historic preservation and the county’s historical commission.